As I reported as few days ago, my 2011 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE is available with incredibly in-depth rankings and analysis on all of the positions around the diamond along with other features about the upcoming season. Below is a small smaple of the CATCHER rankings.
Draft Strategy: When it comes to the catching position in fantasy baseball, my best advice has always been to let the top guys go to someone else and than aim for a rising prospect or an ordinarily solid player whose value is down off an injury or bad year. Those who drafted Twins backstop Joe Mauer off his 28 homer explosion in 2009 can attest to how this position is too volatile to trust early in drafts. Last season I targeted Geovany Soto as a guy who I felt just had a bad year in 2009 and who would rebound in 2010, along with young hot shot prospects such as the Indians’ Carlos Santana and the Giants’ Buster Posey. Needless to say I got all three guys amongst my two money league teams (which both won for the second year in a row). It couldn’t have gone any better. So who fit’s the bill under those scenarios as we enter 2011? For the veteran guy who is off a down or injury plagued year, I am looking at the D-Backs’ Miguel Montero. As far as hot shot prospects? Ummm nothing stands out this year as its impossible to top the Santana/Posey contributions of last season. Fear not however as there are still enough guys who I like that wont require you to reach too high. Lets see how they shake out.
1. Joe Mauer: Mauer still holds onto the top spot due to his all around skill as a hitter. Having your catcher hitting .330 plus is a huge benefit to your batting average category in ROTO and he also will drive in and score 90 plus RBI and runs. Don’t count on the power of 2009 ever coming back again for two reasons: 1. Mauer’s 2009 HR/FB % was extraordinarily high and it wasn’t repeatable. 2. Target Field proved last season to be an extreme pitchers ballpark and one that hurts left-handed power in particular. Someone in your league will reach for the brand name but I advise letting him go as the OF or infielder you can get in the same round will supply much more value as a whole. He just wont supply the power to warrant that early draft spot.
Projection: .327 BA 91 R 14 HR 97 RBI 7 SB
2. Victor Martinez: Its always a tough call between Martinez and Brian McCann but the tiebreaker for me has always been the fact that Martinez will earn more playing time by being in the American League as he is expected to remain in. He played some 1B and played DH for the Red Sox last season and he figures to do the same with whoever he signs with this off-season. Martinez is almost a lock for a .300 BA with 18-20 HR’s but keep in mind that he is 32 now which is getting up there for a catcher. Getting out from behind the plate the last two seasons likely delayed the decay for another year but this is not a long term stock to invest in. He is however perfectly fine for this season. There is no more upside here which is usually a no-no for me but at a shallow position like catcher, Martinez’ consistency has a place on my roster.
Projection: .301 BA 71 R 18 HR 82 RBI 1 SB